Category: Web

AIM in Gmail

Hopefully they plan to add other networks rsn. Generally speaking I hate IM for the same reason I hate the phone, but it can come in handy sometimes and I’d much prefer to do it through Gmail than have to install a client or go to another site like Meebo.

Gmail chat now offers the option to sign in to your AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account to chat with your AIM buddies from Gmail. Your AIM buddies will populate your Contacts list, and are searchable just like your Google Talk contacts.

Details here.

National Library of Ireland Web Crawl

In case you spot an odd-bot.

NLI: In November 2007 the National Library of Ireland is undertaking a comprehensive crawl and harvest of the Ireland web domain using the services of the Internet Archive, the first such crawl of this size. For the purpose of this collection, the Ireland web domain includes .ie domain sites. In addition some sites identified by DNS lookup as having an IP address located in Ireland may be included.

Twitter and the Twits

It’s not me bitching about the spastic nature of Twitter, MySpace, Bebo et al this time, but Rick.

The Post Money Value: A guy wants to come by and pitch his idea.  No problem, come by Tuesday at 3p.  Ok, very cool, so excited to meet you, heard so many things about you, amazing firm you have, etc, etc.

Twitter entry: “Is relieved to have finally, gotten one of these asshole VCs to meet with me on Tuesday, stay tuned, gotta pucker up for this clown.”

Think maybe that guy should look in the mirror, he might spot a red nose. He’ll certainly be seeing a red face. Retard.

Scott Adams: Blogging Not Good For Business

The so-called “blogosphere” pimps won’t like what Scott has to say about his experiences.

I hoped that people who loved the blog would spill over to people who read Dilbert, and make my flagship product stronger. Instead, I found that if I wrote nine highly popular posts, and one that a reader disagreed with, the reaction was inevitably “I can never read Dilbert again because of what you wrote in that one post.” Every blog post reduced my income, even if 90% of the readers loved it. And a startling number of readers couldn’t tell when I was serious or kidding, so most of the negative reactions were based on misperceptions.

WordPress Geoblog Extraordinaire

There’s hacks and there’s hacks like.

Digg: A modified WordPress installation is forced inside a Google Maps info window. A small GPS Java app running on his phone places a marker at his current position, while transmitting the time, direction, and speed at which he was moving when he last updated. You can literally see everywhere he is throughout the day (assuming his cell phone is on). e-mail addresses available

Go to and click a Hotmail link, then a signup link. If you already have an account, you might need to log out or delete your cookies. If you want a .com address instead of a localised one, get Tor and install it, then  set your proxy address to port 8118.


Open letter to Bank of Ireland

I’ve been discussing BOL – as covered in this post – with a customer service rep from BOI, but I don’t think that’s going to result in any changes, so I asked them to forward this to the Chief Executive, or tell me how to get it to them. This probably won’t result in any changes either, but it’s worth a shot. If you think BOL is a steaming pile of shite too, perhaps you should put pen to paper yourself.

Dear [Pinstripe-Suited Person],

Someone in BOI needs to talk to someone that understands the Internet, because it’s clear that the bank has no idea how things work outside the branch network. A lead time of more than a year – never mind several years – for the development of a web application is simply ridiculous, even with the extra security contraints the bank requires.

This is on top of the blatant ignorance the bank displays with regard to web standards and usability. The fact that I can’t log into the current BOL system with any browser I choose, never mind any operating system I choose, is an absolute disgrace in a time when market share for the recommended browser and OS are shrinking fast. The fact that the system appears to have been designed by a child doesn’t help matters either.

Tha bank needs to get it’s house in order on this matter. It may not like the Internet and there are obvious and valid reasons for this, but it’s not going to go away. Continuing to deny it with the pigheadedness of the record labels is going hurt in the long run.

Adam Beecher

BOI: The Hand Giveth, The Hand Taketh Away

Bank of Ireland continues to befuddle me as a company. In some areas they absolutely excel, but in others they’re the worst of the worst. In meatspace I’ve dealt with their branch staff quite a bit in recent years because of several long-winded account changes, and apart from a few – inevitable – errors, they’ve been a pleasure to deal with. Friendly, helpful and competent, their staff run with problems until they’re fixed, taking responsibility and apologising for issues that pop up along the way. On the face-face-face front, companies could learn a lot from BOI.

Step outside the branch network though, and it can be very slapdash, particularly when technology is involved. The IVR systems are long-winded and circuitous, the websites are ugly and befuddling, and having watched people run through their own internal forms on my behalf, I can only imagine how much time is wasted going forward and back in their systems trying to get things done. Their Business OnLine system, though, should be used by experts in usability and design on how not to design a web app.

If you use BOL, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, visit it and take a look, but please, don’t click on anything yet if you run anything bar Windows and IE, as you could actually break something. And in a brilliant way, as will become apparent. When you arrive on the site, a little window will pop up telling you that “Business On Line [is] Loading”, and that you should “Please wait”. While you’re waiting – it’ll be a while, because it will load for a period of ∞ seconds – have a look around at the design and layout.

Quite apart from the fact that they’re generally just awful, you’ll notice that it wasn’t just the application developers that didn’t understand cross-platform and cross-browser development, the designers don’t either; check out the lovely rounded corners in Firefox, for example. The layout is atrocious too of course, with links scattered about the page seemingly at random. Still “loading”? You may have noticed the “PC Compatibility” link while waiting, and been tempted to click it, but don’t if you’re running Firefox please, because it’ll crash. Yes, the “PC Compatibility” page will crash your browser.

If you actually are running Windows and Internet Explorer you’re probably ok, but make sure you install Java first. No, not Sun Java or any other commonly available Java VM, they won’t work; you need the Microsoft JVM. The one that isn’t available any more. BOI will give it to you when you’re trained on their system, but getting it after a reinstall can be a bit tricky if you’re in a rush, you’ll need to google for “msjavx86.exe” and install it yourself. Don’t forget to update afterwards while you’re at it, as that version isn’t secure, and you can’t install the update without installing that. Efficient, eh?

If you’re a user of BOL you may have been told that a new version is on the way, like I was a year or two ago when I first started using it, but I’m afraid that was either a lie or bullshit, because there’s no end in sight. In a week when they’ve upgraded their consumer-level online banking system to something approaching a decent web app – but still not even close to a good one – a customer care rep has confirmed to me that the timeframe for rollout of a BOL upgrade is being calculated in years. And not just a couple of years either:

“at the early stages of this project we may have been given an unofficial timeframe of one maybe two years but now the project has enlarged and has turned into a large scale project incorporating a number different sections. It has grown enormously since the very initial stages of scoping the project and they are not in the position as of yet to issue us with timeframes for the completion of the project”

Let’s be clear on something here folks: this is a web app. Myself and two colleagues are talking about building a web app project at the moment, and the longest part of our lead time is 3 months, while we wait for one to come back to Ireland. When he does, we’ll spend a month on the near side hashing it out, a month firing it together, and a month on the far side on cleanup and pitches, for a total of 6 months. If it were a web app for a bank, we might spend another six months security consultations and code reviews, maybe even a full year. But 2 years plus, when it was obvious 2 years ago it was shite? Fuck off.